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Ministers are above the law - Govt.

Government has clarified the legal justification for saying VIP guards did not have to pay speeding fines.

Government has clarified the legal justification for saying VIP guards did not have to pay speeding fines.

JOHANNESBURG - Government on Sunday moved to clarify the legal justification for saying ministers' drivers did not have to pay speeding fines, after Eyewitness News pointed out that part of the law officials relied on had been repealed.

Last week, government said the Road Traffic Act allowed VIP guards to break the speed limit as they were engaged in civil protection.

However, the Road Traffic Act says the definition of civil protection rests in the Civil Protection Act.

That act has been repealed.

Government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi on Sunday said the Police Service Act covered the ministers' drivers.

"These are people that members of the South African Police Service (Saps) expressly excluded from observing speed limits."

Last year, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said it was acceptable for her convoy to speed if she was late for a meeting.

The issue on whether government officials were exempt from adhering to speed limits was thrust into the spotlight when a young Johannesburg teenager, Thomas Ferreira, was knocked over by a VIP vehicle linked to former Gauteng Housing MEC Humphrey Mmezi.

VIP driver Joseph Semitjie has been charged with reckless and negligent driving over the incident.